U.S. Patent No. 10,569,164: Augmented reality (AR) system for providing AR in video games

Issued February 25, 2020 to Valve Corp.
Priority Date: September 26, 2018

U.S. Patent No. 10,569,164 (the ’164 Patent) relates to adding augmented reality (“AR”) content to video games. The ’164 Patent details a system with which AR content may be created for any video game as an add-on that is overlaid onto video game content. AR content may be stored in a database that associates the content with various identifiers, such as game identifiers, coordinates for where in the game world the content exists, etc. The system may also have an interface for authors to create AR content for use by gamers. The AR content may be static at a fixed location in a game world, or dynamic and have animated movements. AR content may also be made interactive through the use of plugins and executable programs. Additionally, the AR system may be used to augment multiplayer features into a single-player video game, such as rendering an AR character that is overlaid onto a video game’s content, similar to chasing a “ghost” avatar in a speed run. Video game players may also subscribe to AR content channels that include AR content they would like added to their games to download AR content locally to their gaming system to reduce latency and bandwidth consumption by rendering the AR content from the local memory of their gaming system. 

An augmented reality (AR) system allows for providing AR in video games. The disclosed AR system allows for layering AR content on top of the built-in features of video games to provide a unique “in-game” AR experience for gamers. A remote computing system provides a central data warehouse for AR content and related data that may be accessed by select client machines to render augmented frames with AR content during execution of video games. The AR content may be spatially-relevant AR content that is rendered at appropriate locations within a game world. The AR content may be event specific such that the AR content is added in response to game-related events. The disclosed AR system allows for adding multiplayer aspects to otherwise single player games, and/or sharing of AR content in real-time to provide augmentative features such as spectating, mixing of game worlds, and/or teleportation through AR objects.

Illustrative Claim:
1. A client machine comprising: a processor; and memory storing computer-executable instructions that, when executed by the processor, cause the client machine to: execute a video game that outputs video game content in a series of frames; execute an augmented reality (AR) component as a separate process from the video game; and render a frame of the series of frames by: obtaining, by the AR component and from the video game, video game data about a current state of the video game; identifying, by the AR component, augmented reality (AR) content based at least in part on the video game data; generating, by the AR component, an augmented frame that includes the video game content and the AR content; and rendering the augmented frame on a display associated with the client machine.